‘I don’t feel 100’Lifelong South County resident celebrates milestone birthday

  • Lifelong South County resident Helen Kuchieski celebrated her 100th birthday Wednesday afternoon with her family at the Elaine Center in Hadley. From left are Ann Kuchieski, Michael Kuchieski, Sophia Jagodzinski, 8, Jill Jagodzinski, Helen Kuchieski, Alexa Jagodzinski, 11, David Jagodzinski and Peter Kuchieski. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

  • Lifelong South County resident Helen Kuchieski, who celebrated her 100th birthday Wednesday afternoon, walks with her son Peter Kuchieski at the Elaine Center in Hadley. staff photo/dan little

  • Helen Kuchieski is a lifelong South County resident. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

  • Helen Kuchieski takes a photo with her son, Peter Kuchieski. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

  • Helen Kuchieski with her great-granddaughter Sophia Jagodzinski, 8. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

Staff Writer
Published: 3/28/2019 5:54:43 PM

HADLEY — Helen was the second-most popular girl name for babies born in 1919.

One of those little angels was Whately native Helen Lankarge, who came into the world March 27.

Exactly a century later, Helen Kuchieski was surrounded by four generations of loved ones who visited her at the Elaine Center at Hadley to celebrate the past 10 decades.

“I don’t feel 100,” the woman of the hour said during a break from her birthday party.

“You don’t look it, either,” Executive Director Desiree Piette told her.

Helen’s secret to longevity? That’s easy – don’t sweat the small stuff, and eat plenty of bacon.

“She loves bacon,” Dementia Program Coordinator Cathy Dionne said. “Bacon is one of her most favorite foods.”

Her family celebrated her 100th birthday with a piano player, balloons, some polkas, and cake and ice cream.

Helen was born in Whately and bought a house in South Deerfield in her early 20s with husband Peter Kuchieski, who served as deputy police chief in South Deerfield for years. Helen, who won a battle with breast cancer after her husband died about 20 years ago, lived in that house until December 2017, when she moved to the Elaine Center at Hadley at age 98. She is now the oldest resident in Hadley, according to Piette.

Son Peter Kuchieski Jr., 66, said his mother worked at as a licensed practical nurse in Turners Falls for at least 30 years. He still knows to listen to Mom.

“Sit down with me,” Helen said to her son.

“Yes, mother,” Peter said to laughter from family members and staffers within earshot. “She still tells me what to do. Believe me.”

Dionne said Helen’s family is a terrific support network for the matriarch.

“Her family’s very involved, very supportive,” Dionne said. “She’s very social, loves socializing with the ladies. Very active in the life here. Likes to help others.

“She has a lot of friends here. That’s for sure,” she added. “She’s very well-liked and loved.”

Reach Domenic Poli at: dpoli@recorder.com or 413-772-0261, ext. 262.


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